The pandemic has put the finances of university hospitals under severe pressure. According to a provisional balance sheet, the five establishments show a cumulative loss of 80 million francs over two years. For their directors, funding must be reinforced.
The five university hospitals carried the main burden of treating Covid-19 patients, the five establishments in Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Basel and Zurich said on Thursday at a press conference. They ensured 24 hours a day, 7 days a week the presence of qualified personnel for very specialized care.
These services are not sufficiently covered financially. The additional personnel costs and material costs due to the pandemic alone amounted to 352 million francs for all five university hospitals. In 2020 and 2021, the cumulative operating loss reached 626 million francs.
These losses could only be compensated by contributions from the cantons where the five hospitals concerned are located. They advanced 547 million francs, which still leaves a cumulative loss of 80 million francs for university hospitals, they note.
Benefits not recognized
For the directors of these hospitals, the administration and the policy do not yet recognize enough the particular services of the university hospitals. And to recall their contribution during the health crisis from January 2020 to the end of April 2022: 21,890 Covid patients treated, including 3,362 in intensive care.
More than 1.5 million tests and 761,000 vaccinations have been carried out there. University hospitals have also committed to research concerning SARS-CoV-2. Between 2020 and 2022, their collaborators launched nearly 350 research projects and published around 2,000 articles on the subject.
Competence centers to preserve
The employees of the university hospitals have done a tremendous job during the pandemic and continue to do so. Many have gone to the limits of their capacity and sometimes beyond.
The challenges of the past two years have strengthened the cohesion of university hospitals, they say. To maintain this quality of service even in a crisis situation, the funding of university hospitals must be reinforced.
The necessary personnel must be trained and available and the many reforms must not further weaken university hospitals. According to them, this is the only way to guarantee their performance as centers of medical competence in Switzerland in the future.
>> Also listen to the interview in Forum of Philippe Eckert, Director General of the CHUV: